I have to confess that I don’t know where, when, or how this position came about. I will throw out a wild guess and say that some dude named Hawkins must have been involved. What is it? Funny you should ask, I was just about to tell you.
The Hawkins position is a variation of supported prone. The unique thing about this position is that it is markedly lower than other variations of the prone position. That’s the main thing to remember.
The Hawkins position can be made to work in two ways. The first is if you are just behind a small rise that you can set the forend on.
The support fist grasps the front sling swivel firmly. This does two things. First, it acts as a stable interface between your rifle and the surface beneath. Secondly, and very importantly, it is the only thing that absorbs the recoil of this position. Because of this, the support side elbow MUST BE LOCKED! I wouldn’t want you to get a black eye, so remember THE SUPPORT SIDE ELBOW MUST BE LOCKED!
Might be a good time to remind you to LOCK OUT THE ELBOW.
Because we’re trying to stay low the butt of the rifle just sits on the ground in this position. You can’t get your shoulder that low, so your armpit goes over the stock. Everything else is as normal. For minor elevation changes, adjust the tension in your fist. For gross elevation changes, use a different position.
Hawkins- very low profile.
Not Hawkins- not as low.
If you’re not on a rise, and you still really want to be low, you’ll have to dig the rifle butt into the dirt. Grab the front swivel and lock out that arm. I really mean lock it, not just straighten it. Theoretically, in this version of the Hawkins the dirt should absorb the recoil, and you might not need to lock out the arm. I wouldn’t trust the dirt in the picture.
To get into Hawkins on level ground, dig your butt into the dirt. The rifle butt actually, but nice try.
Hawkins- very low. The rock that I dug the butt into the ground with is just at my right side.
Not Hawkins- not as low. Notice how angry I got when I wasn’t as low.
The disadvantage of the Hawkins position over the other prone positions is primarily that lateral movement is much more difficult. Gross elevation changes are likewise pretty much out of the question. You’ll also have a bit harder time getting back on target. It’s somewhat more ackward that a more conventional prone position. Cheekweld and eye relief are highly compromised, but not so much to make you any less accurate than unsupported prone using the sling.
I shot a 10 shot group from 100 yards.
2.6 inches, about 2.5 MOA. This is pretty much exactly what I did with this rifle from unsupported prone using the sling.
If you really, really, really need to get low, this is the one for you. Otherwise, the compromises are unnecessary. Good luck, be safe, and have fun.